Roxanne Shanté

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Roxanne Shanté
Birth name Lolita Shanté Gooden
Born (1969-11-09) November 9, 1969 (age 48)[1][2]
Queens, New York, New York, U.S.
Genres Hip Hop
Occupation(s) Emcee
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1984–present
Labels Pop Art Records
10/Virgin Records (Ireland, UK)
Breakout/A&M Records
Cold Chillin’/Reprise/Warner Bros. Records
Livin’ Large/Tommy Boy/Warner Bros. Records
Associated acts Biz Markie
Big Daddy Kane
Kool G. Rap & DJ Polo
2 Deep
Steady B
Marley Marl
Mr. Magic
Roxanne Shanté Twitter

Roxanne Shanté (born Lolita Shanté Gooden; November 9, 1969) is an American hip hop musician and rapper. Born and raised in the Queensbridge Projects of Queens, New York City,[3] Shanté first gained attention through the Roxanne Wars and was part of the Juice Crew.[4] The 2017 film Roxanne Roxanne is a dramatization of Shanté's life.

Early life and career[edit]

Shanté was born Lolita Shanté Gooden in Queens, New York. She started rapping at the age of thirteen.[5]

In 1984 the young rapper ran into Tyrone Williams, DJ Mr. Magic, and record producer Marley Marl outside the Queensbridge housing project. The three of them were discussing U.T.F.O. since the rap trio had failed to make an appearance at a concert.[3] U.T.F.O. had recently released a single called "Hanging out". The single did not get a lot of critical acclaim, however the B-side featured the song "Roxanne, Roxanne", a song about a woman who would not respond to their advances. The B-side became a hit.[6] Shanté, who was a member of the Juice Crew, walked right up to them and offered to write a track to get back at U.T.F.O., posing as the Roxanne in the U.T.F.O. song. They liked her idea and Marley produced the song "Roxanne's Revenge" using the original beats from an instrumental version of "Roxanne, Roxanne". (At that time her Queens-based crew was in a battle with KRS-One's Bronx-based crew, because both of the crews claimed that their district was the true home of hip hop.[5]) The track became an instant hit and Shanté, only 14 years old at the time, one of the first female MCs to become very popular. Following this, the "Roxanne Wars" started, and Shanté continued to rap and started touring.

In 1985 Shanté released a record together with Sparky D, who had dissed her before in her track "Sparky's Turn, Roxanne You're Through" for disrespecting U.T.F.O. and being too young to be in rap battles.[7] The record called "Round One, Roxanne Shanté vs Sparky Dee" was released by Spin Records and included six tracks: the two original battle tracks ("Roxanne's Revenge" and "Sparky's Turn") as well as "Roxanne's Profile" by Shanté, "Sparky's Profile" by Sparky D and a battle track, in which the two rappers freestyle and dis each other, in a censored and an uncensored version.[8] Other hits were "Have a Nice Day” and also “Go on Girl".[9]

The ongoing battle with KRS-One hit its height when KRS-One claimed in his track "The Bridge Is Over" from 1986 that Shanté was "nothing more than a sexual appendage to male rappers."[10]

Shanté released "Bad Sister" in 1989,[11] "The Bitch Is Back" in 1992,[12] and a greatest hits lbum in 1995.[13]


By the age of 25, Shanté was largely retired from the recording industry. She continued to make occasional guest appearances and live performances, as well as mentor young female hip-hop artists. She did the latter by making a cameo appearance on VH1's hip hop reality show Ms. Rap Supreme and gave rap-battle strategies to the finalists of that show. She also took part in a series of Sprite commercials during the late 1990s.

She returned to performing, and in 2008, her song "Roxanne's Revenge" was ranked number 42 on VH1's 100 Greatest Hip Hop Songs;[14] she re-recorded the song the following year. In an interview with EmEz in 2015 she stated that she had just been proposed to and that she had been married before.[15] In the same interview she said that KRS-One was one of her favorite rappers.

Biographical claims[edit]

It was reported by Blender in 2008[16] and more extensively in a New York Daily News account in 2009,[17] that Shanté earned a bachelor's degree from Marymount Manhattan College and a master's and Ph.D in psychology from Cornell University, and that a quirk in her recording contract obligated Warner Music to fund her college education. These were not new claims by Shanté; she spoke on the subject at length on the Beef II documentary, which was released in 2004.[18]

However, an investigation by lawyer and journalist Ben Sheffner for Slate magazine found no evidence of Shanté's claims. She was never signed to a Warner Music label, but was under contract to the independent label Cold Chillin' Records, which was in turn distributed by Reprise/Warner Bros. Records from 1987 to 1992. Academic records indicate that she attended only three months at Marymount Manhattan College. Shanté never earned any degree and she is unlicensed by New York State officials to practice psychology or similar disciplines.[19] The Daily News subsequently ran a five-paragraph correction.[17][20] Shanté apologized in November 2009.[21]

Roxanne Roxanne film[edit]

A dramatized biopic about Shanté's life, Roxanne Roxanne, was first shown at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. It received critical acclaim and the lead actress Chanté Adams won best breakout performance for her portrayal of Shanté. The film was co-produced by Forest Whitaker and Pharrell Williams, and Michael Larnell wrote the screenplay and directed.[22][23][24] It was bought by the film studio Neon for general release later in 2017.[25]




  • "Roxanne’s Revenge" (1984)
  • "Queen of Rox (Shanté Rox On)" (1985)
  • "Runaway" (1985)
  • "Bite This" (1985)
  • "I'm Fly Shanté" (featuring Steady B) (1986)
  • "Def Fresh Crew" (1986)
  • "Pay Back" (1987)
  • "Have a Nice Day" (1987) (UK #58)
  • "Go On, Girl" (1988) (UK #55)
  • "Loosey's Rap" (with Rick James) (1988)
  • "Sharp as a Knife" (with Brandon Cooke) (1988) (UK #45)
  • "Live on Stage" (1989)
  • "Independent Woman" (1990)
  • "Go On Girl" (1990) (re-issue) (UK #74)
  • "Big Mama" (1992)
  • "Straight Razor" (1992)
  • "What's Going On" (with Mekon) (2000) (UK #43)
  • "Yes Yes, Y'all" (with Mekon) (2006)
  • "Queen Pin" (1996)




  1. ^
  2. ^ The Guinness who's who of rap, dance & techno. Guinness Publishing. 1994. p. 135. ISBN 9780851127880. Lolita Shante Gooden, 9 November 1969, Queens, New York, USA. 
  3. ^ a b Roxanne Shanté Biography on
  4. ^ Juice Crew on wikipedia
  5. ^ a b Thembisa S. Mshaka, "Roxanne Shanté" (2007), In Hess, Mickey. Icons of Hip Hop: An Encyclopedia of the Movement, Music, and Culture. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press. ISBN 978-0-313-08438-6.
  6. ^ Full Force Recalls Making UTFO's "Roxanne, Roxanne," Revisiting Song For New "Full Force: With Love from Our Friends" Album, on
  7. ^ Sparky D biography on
  8. ^ "Round One" on
  9. ^ Roxanne Shante on
  10. ^ "Are Female Rappers Authentic" by Athena Elafros in Hip Hop Icons, p.208
  11. ^ "Bad Sister" by Roxanne Shante on
  12. ^ "The Bitch Is Back" by Roxanne Shante on
  13. ^ "Greatest Hits" by Roxanne Shante on
  14. ^ "VH1's 100 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs". Archived from the original on 2013-01-25. Retrieved 2010-03-02.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  15. ^ Interview with EmEz on
  16. ^ Reilly, Dan. "Life After Rock: Roxanne Shanté",, December 8, 2008
  17. ^ a b Dawkins, Walter (September 2, 2009). "Rapper behind 'Roxanne's Revenge' gets Warner Music to pay for Ph.D". Daily News. Retrieved 2009-08-24. 
  18. ^ Sheffner, Ben. "Roxanne Shanté speaking about her 'Ph.D.'"
  19. ^ Sheffner, Ben (2009-09-02). "Roxanne's Nonexistent Revenge: Heard about the rapper who forced her label to pay for her Cornell Ph.D.? It never happened". Slate. 
  20. ^ Daily News, "Correction", September 4, 2009, p. 33
  21. ^ "ROXANNE SHANTE REVEALS BREAST CANCER BATTLE". The Boombox. 2009-11-02. Retrieved 2011-03-29. 
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 494. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.